Posts Tagged ‘Heavy Rotation’

h1

Heavy Rotation V. 57: Obscene, Dirty, Filthy, Immoral Edition

January 9, 2011

In which Hey Champ consult their Ouija board and their rhyming dictionary, King Unique lay down their own brand of “dirty house” (and provide us with a theme and title), Cassetteboy does terrible things to a very British celebu-chef (followed immediately by an apology to his Mum) and D12 does all sorts of heinous things to their collective Mums with the assistance of Mellow Cake’s wonky propulsiveness.

Oh, and in the bonus round, Giko takes time to clarify that he doesn’t hate you, he just wants to be your proctologist.

Here are the links: (All links open in a new window.)

Bruce Sterling takes a very clear-eyed (and slightly profane) look at the Wikileaks controversy, waving away the murky haze of myth-making that currently surrounds it.

Stuff Very Specific White People Like.

Speaking of stuff white people like, Rap Genius is here to clue you in on what exactly Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne et al are talkin’ ’bout. “I just whipped up a watch, tryin’ to make me a Rover,” indeed.

Obscene
Cassetteboy – Nigella’s XXXMas.mp3

Dirty
King Unique – Dirty.mp3

Filthy
Hey Champ – Demon Semen.mp3

Immoral
D12 – Shit On You (Mellow Cakes Remix).mp3

Bonus:
Giko – Asshole (Facteur Mix).mp3

-CLT

h1

Heavy Rotation 56

August 1, 2010

Well, it appears the Rotation will be a bit Heavier this week, what with RF’s massive contribution a few days ago, which brought some bizarre elements (metal, jazz) into the mix as well as some overt swipes at my musical tastes.

In other words, highly recommended.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, I recommend The Clean and The Pillows. Anything Could Happen is especially amazing.

So, then. You know the drill. Three links. Five tracks. (About two of them good…) Comments open. Volume way up.

[Also from the drill: Links open in a new window. Right-click on track names to download and save.]

GQ talks Bill Murray into a rare interview, in which Bill talks. Quite a bit.

We all remember I Write Like. Here’s some pretty thorough testing. (William Faulkner is like Margaret Mitchell. Steven King is like either Dan Brown or William Gibson, depending on number of paragraphs used…)

Finally, Lego architecture. In the National Building Museum.

Previous Rotations found here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

Growing – Innit.mp3
Straight outta Crooklyn, the 3-piece Growing lay down a piece of Fuck Buttons-esque pulsating psychedelia, staggered and gated throughout, building towards a climax that sounds not unlike a hornet’s nest filled with carillons. Requires a bit of patience and a whole lot of volume to pick up the nuances, but completely worth it.

Archive – Bullets.mp3
Massive UK post-rock collective (aren’t they all? Collectives, that is…) Archive drives powerful minor chords across a glistening, wet electronic pavement, trying in vain to outrun a pursuing storm. They can’t, of course, and it all collapses into a coda of crushed sequencers and rolling blackouts.

Elite Force vs. The Gossip – Control the Engine.mp3
One-man breakbeat army Elite Force bites a Mr. Oizo intro before unleashing this dancefloor stormer, in which phat-ass basslines rub up against Beth Ditto’s femrock vocals, like a handsy Rosie O’Donnell hipchecking Joan Jett into the nearest wall.

It all turns out to be much better than the sum of its parts, with both protagonists morphing into the audio equivalent of lipstick lesbians, who promptly head off and tag-team the conveniently placed stripper pole… musically-speaking.

(This is why I’m not allowed to write for any major music publication.)

Holy Fuck – SHT MTN.mp3
We’ve featured them before, but Holy Fuck are just so damn good. This one’s been getting repeated plays lately, weeks after the release of their amazing second album, Latin.

Raucous. Rocking. Two minutes and forty seconds of muscular drumming, bursts of impedence and rhythmic chanting. And for a few short seconds early on, you’ll be transported to a Quiet Riot.

The Doors – Been Down So Long (Streetlab DJs Bootleg Mix).mp3
My three-year old boy likes it when I sing along to this. Possibly a Doors fan in the making, but only time will tell. If the apple falls near the tree, he’ll not be overly impressed with Morrison’s wild-haired poetry and wang-waggling.

This remix rocks hard, though, boosting up the stomping tempo and building a head of contemptuous, bluesy steam. It’s propulsive and infectious. And when the three-year old in your life says, “Sing it!” you had better start singing…

Well, I’ve been down so goddamn long
That it feels like up to me…

[Need a track removed? Taking me to task for my casual swearing and way more casual parenting? Donde esta el bano? Contact me at: 2timegrime@gmail.com.]

-CLT

h1

Heavy Rotation 54

July 25, 2010

I don’t have three links picked out this week due to some scheduling conflicts (read: more going on than I have actual hours for). Instead, I’m posting links to three blogs I read regularly. (Again, time permitting.)

All links open in a new window. Right-click on song titles to download.

Newmark’s Door – Full of killer links

Hit & Run – Reason’s top-notch libertarian blog, which manages to inform and entertain without going all “guns in a shack” psycho.

No Pain in Pop – Way out on the cutting edge. HR wouldn’t be what it is without their ceaseless exploration…

Previous Rotations available here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

Deftones – Rocket Skates (m83 Remix).mp3
First of all, I’m never really sure whether to pronounce them as the Def-tones or the Deft-ones. (Wiki says “Def-tones,” but then Wiki says a lot of stuff. I’m going to go with the second.)

If you had to listen to one nu metal band, you could do a whole lot worse than Chino Moreno’s band, which has been a formative force in many a lesser nu metal band. Needless to say, we’ll try no to hold that against them.

But what we’re really here for is the remix. And m83 do a number on this one. Somehow, through some sort of electronic sorcery, m83 manage to crank up the aggression while simultaneously losing every single guitar. There’s not a single six-string chord in sight and yet, the track still sounds raw and unhinged. Moreno’s vocals deserve some of the credit here, helping to pace the tune while being set adrift from his usual rhythm section.

It all adds up to a Deftones track that I would not only listen to, but listen to repeatedly.

Twin Sister – Lady Daydream (Glitter Bones Remix).mp3
A gorgeous daytripper filled with the swooning harmonics of the greatest ’60s girl group to never exist, filtered through electronica (via Glitter Bones) that lies somewhere between Telepopmusik and Peepholes. It’s the audio equivalent of an early-morning mist rolling off the ocean as it gently breaks across the empty shoreline.

Plus, it features one of the most self-effacing daily affirmations ever:

Just because I’m losing you
Doesn’t make me a loser

Oh, and check out their site. Not only does it do the usual tours/releases thing, but stems for all songs are available so you can remix them yourselves. Bedroom producers: start your laptops.

Toy – The All Seeing Eye.mp3
English-Norwegian electronic duo Toy’s take on dub will no doubt be shunned by the very genre it embraces, because, for some goddamn reason, dub is taken very seriously by its fans. All thses kids with sunken cheeks and studio tans keep hanging around bringing everybody down with their “it’s 40 degrees and raining in my head… all the time” moodiness.

Who says dub has to be all detached and distended? Toy certainly doesn’t. Their track gurgles away, wandering around carefreely, past some cartoonish noises and into a whole pile of synthed-up strings. Not entirely unlike Dub Narcotic Soundsystem, who seldom took their “job” seriously while still managing to deploy every reverberating trick in the book.

Hot Chip – I Feel Better (Den Haan Remix).mp3
Den Haan, Glaswegian disco-technicians (and featured in an earlier Heavy Rotation), turn in a brilliant retro remix that recalls flourescent-covered bodies strutting their stuff on a smoke-filled dancefloor, when not slipping away to the restrooms to dice up coke rails with their corporate credit cards.

Plushgun – Mixtape (Buffetlibre Remix).mp3
With a track name like “Mixtape,” you know Plushgun is looking backwards. Between their rearview mirror and Buffetlibre’s surehanded post-production, it sounds like nothing less than the second coming of Erasure, who never really went away, actually. It’s just that no one really talks about them anymore…

[Need a track taken down? Got some time on your hands that you’d be willing to part with? Viagra/Cialis for sale at low, low prices? Contact me at: 2timegrime@gmail.com.]

-CLT

h1

Heavy Rotation 53

July 18, 2010

5 tracks. 3 links. Synergistic.

First, the links.

[All links open in a new window. All tracks can be downloaded by right-clicking on their titles.]

Who do you write like? Drop in a few paragraphs and find out.

The “Rap Metal” paragraphs from the last Music Genre guide gave me this incredibly pleasing result:

[Full disclosure: three paragraphs from the post you’re reading gave me “Dan Brown.” And their badge code doesn’t play nice with WordPress.]

Golden Ages’ website, We’re So Future. (Check out their track and come back to this.)

A periodic table of swearing. And you can buy one for your wall. (Via kottke.org.)

Previous versions not numbered 53 available here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

Felix & Volcano! – Shaadows.mp3
I don’t care what you’re listening to or what you’re doing. Drop all of it and listen to this. This is best fucking thing you will hear all day/week/month/year. I don’t say this lightly or routinely throw around hyperbolic statements, so fuck all the genre bullshit about who this sounds like or what their influences might be or how the rest of their catalog doesn’t really resemble this.

It’s the kind of track that kicks you in the head and makes you want to sing along even though you don’t know the words yet.

It starts out slowly, riding a low key bassline that wouldn’t seem out of place in quality R&B/soul track, accompanied by some sort of buzzing, synthetic organ. The lyric obliquely detail the turning point in a relationship. A fight. An ultimatum. A release.

Hey
Let’s not make up
Let’s just leave it alone…

The hardest thing to do sometimes is just… let… go. But then the levee breaks. And you’re free.

Because when we surface
With our minds intact
We’ll finally be home…

They follow this melody for a few moments, singing wordlessly. The chorus returns, its original form sung underneath a slight rewriting:

Because when we slow down
Let go my hand
Don’t you worry…

3:23. Wind howls past, blowing away the past. Clarity is acheived. The weight is removed. All you had to do was let it go.

The song picks up pace, racing away, weightless and triumphant. A soul unanchored.

Check them out.

Golden Ages – It Doesn’t Mean Shit.mp3
Like the previous track, impossible to pinpoint and steeped in the same sentiment. Fuck all the genre bullshit. It’s as though Golden Ages decided to make some electronica and cobbled it all together using only instinct and enthusiasm.

And when the tastemakers showed up with the All Knowing Guide to Electronica Standards and Guidelines, they were horrified to find this distorted, jovial mess rattling along like a circuitious Rube Goldberg contraption, whose very existence was the only ends that justified the looping means.

Oh. It’s fun alright. Name that influence. Find the title (spoken once). Is that running water? Why does this add up to great music when all the components feel like they would cancel each other out? Who knows… enjoy.

UNKLE – Natural Selection (featuring the Black Angels).mp3
Like the bluesy-psychedelia of the late-’60s Rolling Stones crossed with UNKLE’s electronic sensibilities. Moves along with a confident swagger, as I imagine UNKLE themselves must, what with their impeccable production and godawesome catalog.

It’s the effortless cool that David Holmes projects. Or Death in Vegas. Or the Stones themselves, back in their heyday. The Black Angels classically-rockist vocals aid greatly as do their tasteful insertion of huge, distorted riffs.

†‡† – goth bb.mp3
Google-unfriendly †‡† (a.k.a. ritualzzz) take to the airwaves with a darker-than-darkwave collection of killer bass and disembodied screams, all moving at a menacing, zombie-esque pace.

Some people have bandied about the term “witch house” to describe this sort of post-gothic, post-industrial electronica that dwells at the deeper, deadlier end of the genre pool. It’s a terrible term, conjuring up Blair Witch sequels and weekend Wiccans dancing around candles and incense. But what would you call it? Goth-tronica? Death disco? Nightmare pop?

SALEM – King Night.mp3
Returning to their signature death disco sound after a dalliance with chopped and screwed hip hop, SALEM dial up the evil in this audio rendition of an apocalyptic midnight mass. The suffocating sounds of a black celebration as hell reigns on earth, summoned by ritually abused drum machines and overdriven amps.

Those who manage to pull themselves from the primordial sinkhole will be haunted by a Hallelujah chorus of the damned. It’s enough to make the living envy the dead. All hail King Night.

[Need a track removed? Looking for a glimpse of daylight? Goth-tronica? Seriously? Email me at 2timegrime@gmail.com.]

-CLT

h1

Heavy Rotation 52

July 11, 2010

Well, now that we’ve gotten it all out of our systems (“we” being mainly me), welcome back to the Heavy Rotation, which will be filled once again with pleasant tones both danceable and/or warm.

Oh, and resident clothes horse RF Interference has booted around the idea of helming a few Rotations, so there’s that to look forward to.

Previous versions (including that one we’ve agreed never to speak of again) available here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

Here’s three to read while the band(s) play on:

[Links will open in a new window. Right-click on song titles to download.]

New stuff to learn! Some of it disturbing and profane! Cleverly illustrated!

The Eight Suckiest Ads on Craigslist.

PJ O’Rourke on public schools.

Japandroids – Sovereignty.mp3
Straight ahead indie rock, all speedy fuzz guitars and a bit of the f-bomb tossed around casually. Not entirely unlike No Age during their more straightforward tracks or a punched-up Mission of Burma. The kind of thing that should soundtrack getting ready for a night out on the town. Or for the night itself.

All in all, it sounds a whole lot bigger than the duo behind all the racket. Amazing.

Ojos Rojos – Step Outside.mp3
Still staying in straight ahead indie rock vein, it’s Ojos Rojos, a four-piece set of Californians, who build a huge guitar wall of sound, putting them in the same league as post-glam rock stars such as Suede and the Verve in their more anthemic moments. Also carries with it a hint of Ride’s bruising take on shoegaze.

LCD Soundsystem – Drunk Girls (Holy Ghost! Remix).mp3
The lead single from LCD’s latest gets rerubbed by DFA labelmates Holy Ghost!, who run Murphy’s pisstake on clubbing youth down to the local danceteria on retro night, filling it full of cheap tropical drinks and plenty of Duran Duran, Yaz and Animotion. Great faux-everything all over the place as Murphy’s vocals duel with cheap, click-y handclaps and tin-eared drum machines.

It’s all very close to being a bit too much, but the cocksure production keeps it just on this side of cliched retro disaster.

Animotion – Obsession.mp3
And while we’re still in an ’80s mood, here’s one of my favorites from that era. It’s unapologetically electronic, what with the dayglo synth stabs and the most mechanical of drum machines. It’s all some sort of shorthand for “futuristic,” hailing as it does from an era when the facade was at least as important as the interior, which was usually just a whole bunch of black leather and chrome.

Despite all that, it manages to sound coolly retro without sounding hopelessly dated.

Cruise [CTRL] – Eat My Fear (Roswell Conspiracy Mix).mp3
Black as all hell electro from a pair of Twin Peaks-obsessed Belgians. Shades of John Carpenter’s soundtrack work (think The Thing and Halloween) mix with a minimal but unrelenting tech-house beat. The perfect thing to scare the over-sensitive skin off the ecstasy crowd. Makes me wish I was still DJing.

Can’t argue with that track name, either. Perfect. (And looking further, I see they’ve done some work with Jean-Luc De Meyer of Front 242. Even more perfect.)

[Want a track removed? Concerned with a perceived lack of focus? Wondering who the hell this “RF guy” is? Wish to tell me about the millions of pounds I’ve won in a country I’ve never set foot in? Contact me at 2timegrime@gmail.com]

-CLT

h1

Heavy Rotation 51: Are You Still With Me? Edition

July 4, 2010

At this point, we’ve done nearly a year’s worth of Heavy Rotations. And you all have been simply fantastic to preach music to. But there has to have been a handful of times when you listened to a track I’ve recommended and thought, “The hell?” Maybe even more than a handful. Perhaps this happens quite frequently but you’re all so worried about me and my obviously unhinged brain that you cover up your dismay with streams of compliments and superlatives.

This volume of the Heavy Rotation is an attempt to explain exactly what the hell is wrong with me.

As you’ve heard so many kids say before, “I’m not like the other kids.” Something broke way back in the day. I never was really betrothed to verse-chorus-verse structures. That went away with the acclimation to industrial music. I never really liked over-production or skillful instrument usage. I was more interested in new noises and ritualistic abuse of common musical references.

My brain says, “We’ve all heard enough rock. Enough techno. Enough whatever, done perfectly and repeatedly. What else have you got?”

This is what I found. These are all formative tracks (and one late arrival) that left my musical psyche horribly mutated. I’ve still got a keen ear for beautifully done music and catchy tunes. But this is the shit it must fight through. And this is the shit I turn down before the neighbors can hear. This is the music I don’t introduce to the new in-laws.

There a few things that any one person can truly call their own, especially in terms of culture. But these are MINE.

I do not expect anyone to walk away from this feeling they’ve found a new “go-to” track for their next social event or even hear anything they’d want to hear again. But god help me, I love these songs.

I thank you in advance for indulging me. I also apologize in advance for any damage done to your stereo equipment or relationships with friends and neighbors.

[Right-click to download tracks. All other links open in a new window.]

Easier listening found here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Upside Down.mp3
This is their first single, which I encountered on their Barbed Wire Kisses compilation. It’s an ear-bleeding statement of intent, in which William and Jim Reid pretty much shove their guitars right through their amps, producing a wall of feedback that steamrolls anything Jimi Hendrix had ever done into an unrecognizable white-noise puddle.

Underneath the racket, which one critic memorably described as “a chainsaw in a hurricane,” there’s a hummable melody and some suitably bleak lyrics. But its the banshee-scream of the feedback that acts like a siren song to me, compelling me to place my head between the speakers until every synapse joins in.

And it probably explains the next tune quite a bit. (Still here? I’ll explain…)

Josh Wink – Higher State of Consciousness (Original Tweakin Acid Funk Mix).mp3
An influential breakbeat/acid house classic, featuring the tortured tones of a Roland bass emulator cut adrift of its factory settings and being made to do unpleasant things to sine waves.

Josh Wink allows it to ride a bit of a groove first before gradually winding it all up into a pulse of piercing tones, the likes of which had only been hinted at by early acid house pioneers like Hardfloor and DJ Pierre. An all-around celebration of making your machine(s) say, “Yes,” rather than simply taking their word for it when they say they shouldn’t.

If I hadn’t already been open to skull-piercing treble tones (thanks Jesus & Mary Chain!), I would never have gotten on board with this one.

Moby – Thousand.mp3
As long as we’re still within arrestable distance of club music, here’s techno popstar Moby, who plays around with his drum machine and ends up in the Guinness Book of World Records for “Fastest Song.”

For everyone who only knows him from Play onward may be surprised by his prolific days as a techno producer/DJ in which he produced several underground techno hits during the formative years of the American rave scene. Some of his best work is collected on Rare:The Collected B-Sides 1989-1993, from which this track is taken.

Thousand relies on little more than an accelerating beat and a parallel diva sample to get the job done. Moby takes the tune around the block a couple of times, opening it all the way up on the straightaways.

Should anyone really do this sort of thing, just because the technology will let them? I doubt it. But some people just have to. Moby is one of them. Should anybody call this “good,” let alone “great”? Of course not. But somebody still will. And that person will most likely be me.

The “Thousand” refers to the beats per minute.

Lightning Bolt – Two Towers.mp3
This nuisance of a band joined my intensely personal (and carefully obscured) heavy rotation thanks to my blog partner RF (who’s back, by the way). He shot this over to me along with a selection of other stuff ranging from the tuneful to the aggravating.

And this is where Lightning Bolt stand. They’re a two-person “band,” one playing a bass guitar and the other, a jazz trap set. What do they sound like? It depends on when you ask. They rarely sound like Primus. They don’t even really sound like their closest analogue, Death From Above 1979.

They sound like a fucked-up thrash band most of the time, but they run some amazing bass-propelled grooves, over which the masked drummer screams unintelligibly. (I can see the line forming now, he said tongue planted firmly in cheek, etc…) This track starts out like the most annoying hardcore track ever, with the guitarist wanking all over the place for about a minute in the most show-offy, tuneless manner possible. (Fingers on the “Next” button…)

But at :55, the track takes off. The song coheres and races off to the next transition, grinding and abrading the edges of a lockstep groove, which falls apart now and then, but seamlessly reassembles and continues, yes, rocking, believe it or not.

By all appearances this should suck. But it does not. Not to me. Not to RF. Not to dozens of fans worldwide. It’s brutal without having the decency to at least be efficient. Seven minutes is a lot to take. Unless you’re me. Or RF. I’m used to seven minutes of minimally changing grooves. I love techno. RF loves him some metal, so he’s used to being smacked around for extended periods as well.

It works like a noisy-ass mantra. It’s a drunken god of war parading through your headspace. It’s all so wrong it has to be right.

Skinny Puppy – Download.mp3
Had enough? Well, there’s just one more. And it’s only 11 minutes long. (Cue insane laughter and Persian cat-stroking.)

This is from a last-gasp effort by Skinny Puppy, Canada’s answer to Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire. This is before they imploded. But not much before. Last Rights (from which this is taken) is the sound of self-destruction coupling with drug-fueled paranoia and unfocused rage.

This is the last track from the death knell (although they did reform, but for the sake of this post, we’ll pretend they never did). It’s more Cevin Key’s (keybs, percussion) baby than Nivek Ogre’s (lead singer). It’s an incoherent mess of samples and loops, driveby radio signals, reversed and pitch-shifted vocal snippets, random button mashing and good old-fashioned dial-spinning.

Operates much like Cevin Key’s post-Skinny Puppy work, functioning better as nightmarish soundscape than actual tuneage. Hell, he even named his next project after this track. It’s quite a bit to take, all this cacophony. So I’m going to do you a favor.

I don’t really care for the front half of this track myself. I find it to be pointlessly self-indulgent, much like I find most of Download’s (the band) work. Instead of subjecting yourself to something even I wouldn’t put up with, move on to where I think the track redeems itself.

Spin the virtual dial forward to 5:18. You’ll hear the last fading sonics from the first half meeting the most malevolent selection of bass tones which follow it until the end. They pan and sweep and haunt. They pulse and throb, attack and decay.

That is what I love. 5+ minutes of overdriven, mildly distorted bass lines, sweeping through the headphones and into the most damaged recesses of my personal tastes. It’s like hell’s theremin.

I love these sounds. You can’t make them with rock instruments. You have to work pretty hard to make them with banks of electronics. You have to work even harder to ride this sort of limited idea for 5-1/2 glorious minutes.

[Want a track removed? Would you care to see my blogger’s license? Could I interest you in a new set of speakers/ears? Email me: 2timegrime@gmail.com.]

-CLT

h1

Heavy Rotation 50

June 27, 2010

Welcome to the 50th installment of the Heavy Rotation. I don’t really have anything planned as this sort of snuck up on me, and if you really get technical (and we will), this is actually the 51st, thanks to the numbering system not really “catching on” until the third HR. This doesn’t even include the repeated number somewhere in the 30’s.

Long story short: we’re calling this 50, but we’re not making a big deal of it.

First the links, because we’re all just not using the internet enough already:
[All links open in a new window. Right-click on track names to download.]

http://copybot.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/the-50-most-interesting-articles-on-wikipedia/

http://copybot.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/50-more-of-wikipedias-most-interesting-articles/

http://snarkmarket.com/

Approximately 50 previous volumes here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

The Antlers – Kettering.mp3
We’ll build up this time around. Kicking things off is the Antlers and their dream/nightmare pop, delivering a haunting dirge detailing the frustration and futility of losing someone to forces beyond your control. The internal scream of someone dying on the inside watching someone dying on the outside.

The Delta Mirror – Going to Town.mp3
Former L.A. indie hip hop producers find a new life on the offworld colonies, returning to earth with their troubled take on post-rock/electronica via the shoegazey plugins of m83 and Ulrich Schnauss. Certainly more menacing than the bands listed above (although m83 does go darker more often than US), Going to Town rides a mildly fucked-up beat deep into the shadows while bright synth tones alluringly drag the listener down with them.

How could something so pretty be so full of pain? And why the hell does it remind me so much of the following track that my brain nearly broke trying to put 2 and 2 together around 4 in the morning early last week?

Ulrich Schnauss – Between Us and Them.mp3
Germany’s least expected import, Ulrich Schnauss writes love letters to My Bloody Valentine and Chapterhouse using his newfangled software and racks of electronics, rather than the tear-stained quill and paper they’re used to. Much like m83 and the recently discovered Incubator, Schnauss builds emotional moments from a collection of bits and bytes and creates cripplingly gorgeous soundscapes from files and folders.

This track sounds a fair bit like the previous one. And vice versa. Actually, more vice versa than not, what with Schnauss hitting the scene first.

m83 – Teen Angst (Death to the Throne Mix).mp3
Now the beats are starting to kick in. Death to the Throne dresses up Teen Angst for the dancefloor without pandering to the club kids, allowing blasts of m83’s white noise to break through before sending the 4/4 beat in to restore order, most memorably in the stutter-step-stagger bursts that lead into the 2nd chorus.

Tame Impala – H.F.G.W. (Canyons Drunken Rage).mp3
Australian psych-rockers Tame Impala (described to perfection in a previous comment thread) allow their Half Full Glass of Wine track to be beaten about by the mysterious Canyons. The result?

A loping beat meets gently weeping guitar licks before the bass kicks in with the intonation, “You leave me no choice but to plot my revenge.” As the vocals loop the song starts to strut, muscling its way into your ears and heading straight for your ass, mutating into a veritable rock fucking monster that Led Zeppelin woud have been proud to call their own.

[Need a track removed? Tired of all this shoegaze-tronica? Need some money wired to an ailing relative in Kenya? Contact me at 2timegrime@gmail.com.]

-CLT

h1

Heavy Rotation 49

June 20, 2010

For your reading pleasure this week (all links open in a new window – all mp3s can be downloaded by right-clicking on the song title):

A Kalvacade of Kinkade news! Drunk driving, lawsuits, character assasinations… it’s all here!

http://blogs.sacbee.com/crime/archives/2010/06/painter-thomas.html 
(check out the comment section for more fun…)

http://www.thebaffler.com/viewArticle/122
(On the “Placerville” biopic – specifically how fake it is. Plus, why do Kinkade’s houses always look like they’re burning down from the inside?)

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2008/11/thomas-kincades-16-guidelines-for-making-stuff-suck.html
(How Thomas Kinkade imagines he creates art. Step by tedious cliched step.)

Earlier versions, now 90% Kinkade-free!:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

Incubator – Cigarettes.mp3
If you were here for last week’s Heavy Rotation, we led off with a Jesus and Mary Chain-styled piece of fuzzy bliss by Rraaiillss, a.ka. Adam Anderson. Well, as it turns out, not only is he extraordinarily talented but he’s a hell of a nice guy as well, as I received an email from him thanking me for featuring his music.

After emailing back and forth a bit, he pointed me in the direction of another of his projects, Incubator. Say goodbye to the waves of carefully crafted feedback and say hello to something that sold its guitars to buy keyboards.

Feast your ears on this: a gorgeous slice of synth-y loveliness called Cigarettes, which conjures up all the best parts of Joy Division/early New Order filtered through the best stuff m83 and Ulrich Schnauss have to offer. Completely catches the feeling of that catch in your heart when you wake up next to someone you fully expected to be gone, especially the way that burst of unfiltered emotional sunlight revives a flagging psyche.

Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks.mp3
Now that your heart is racing unsteadily, let’s jump into a slice of bouncy heaven, albeit one that makes you laugh inappropriately. Foster the People would (very charmingly) like to inform you that they plan on killing you for your kick-ass (and very expensive) trainers.

As the chorus swells, you’ll be forced to sing along, alarming unsuspecting passersby with your murderous intentions and blithesome (thx Ulysses) harmonizing:

All the other kids with their pumped up kicks
Better run better run
Outrun my gun

And then, no fucking shit, they start whistling. It’s altogether too much. You can try and fight it but they’re still going to charm the shoes right off your bullet-riddled corpse. (Show of hands: who else felt the urge to do the Swim by eight beats in or so? Be honest.)

Parties in Belgrade – Statues.mp3
Still sticking with bouncy, it’s Parties in Belgrade, a band that usually runs a little darker, but in this instance channel all the feelgood parts of the Happy Mondays, with lead singer Carlos Anthony sounding more like Shaun Ryder than Ryder does these days.

And away they go, rambling on about erecting facetious pedestals, using words more for their flow than for deeper meaning. The slightly-tuffer-than-Happy guitars start duelling, one conjuring Hawaii and the other Pere Ubu.

Have no idea what the fook I’m on about?*

*[See next track for exactly what the fook I’m on about.]

Happy Mondays – Tokoloshe Man.mp3
A prime cut from the heyday of these baggy Madchester dance-rock merchants. One of two songs stolen from John Kongos (the other is Step On). When they could be troubled to put the smack down long enough to record, they cranked out some of the best twisted pop out there. Lead singer Shaun Ryder would then stamp his unmistakable vocals on the track, freely associating, swearing and stealing bits of others’ songs, turning each Monday’s song into a catchy, shambling wreck that charmed you with its rough-edged cheerfulness even as it shook you down for drug money.

This song is an undeniably pleasant way of dealing with a creature from the collective nightmares of South Africa, a hairy beast that is part “zombie, poltergeist and gremlin,” capable of crossing cultural boundaries just to kill:

It makes no difference if you are yellow or you’re red
When the bad man says
Tonight is the night when you are dead

Plus, it has some well-deployed organ.

Twisted Wires – Oh Hell.mp3
To wrap things up, we’re going dark with the perfect track to send you out into the word, all covered in sunglasses and feisty antagonism. Friends of Adam Anderson/Rraaiillss/Incubator, Twisted Wires conjures up ghosts both chronic and recent* including Sex Gang Children, the Swans, Chrome, Fields of the Nephilim, Holy Fuck, Bauhaus and maybe even a little Coil.

*[Name that reference!]

Dark dark dark. Minor chords pinned down by bass-heavy drones and near-tribal drumming. The perfect antidote to all the smiling faces currently exiting/entering various places of worship.

[Need a track taken down? Care to point out my numerous spelling errors and faulty references? Just need me to wire “some amount” of USD to a Nigerian FedEx? Contact me at: 2timegrime@gmail.com.]

-CLT

h1

Heavy Rotation 48

June 13, 2010

No theme this week, which should equal fewer words and more time for you to surf around the net while enjoying the finest in music via the Heavy Rotation.

[Another brief note: all tracks featured in the Heavy Rotation can be downloaded by right-clicking on the song title and choosing “Save As…” Just throwing that out there in case anyone was wondering.]

Browse here (all links will open in a new window, per Scott’s instructions):

http://www.hammacher.com/Product/78609?promo=Home&catid=0  (via Dubious Quality)

http://thinkstank.tumblr.com/post/664617570/nine-inch-niles-the-seattleward-spiral  (and he’s got a million more great ideas… check out the whole Thinkstank site)

http://shitmykidsruined.tumblr.com/ 

Previous volumes here, mostly sans links:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

Rraaiillss – SPF85.mp3
First there was the Jesus and Mary Chain. And they were awesome. And as most bands do, they started strong and faded but were divisive enough to be considered influential, what with all their feedback and darkened outlook. But for a long time, bands called them an influence but gave no musical reason for us to believe them.

Suddenly, twenty + years after their feedback-drenched debut, bands all over the place are sound like JAMC meant more to them than just something to say to music journos. A Place to Bury Strangers, the Young Boys, Nikoo, etc. And now, the cat-on-the-keyboard-named Rraaiills.

However, Rraaiillss follows the less noisy path, with one-man band Adam Anderson staking a claim somewhere in the middle of Darklands, the milder sophomore album by the Scottish noise boys. It’s all understated distortion, hummable melodies and a bleak-as-the-great-Scottish-outdoors outlook. (You can pick up his entire 4-track ep for FREE here: http://rraaiillss.bandcamp.com/ )

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Nine Million Rainy Days.mp3
This one is for comparison. From the second album by the Jesus and Mary Chain, in which they mostly turned their back on walls of feedback, but didn’t quite do an entire 180 and start looking their audience in the eye. An atmospheric broken hymn to a collapsing relationship and the attendant exposed nerve endings of obsession.

Liars – Cycle Time.mp3
Unfolds like a bar fight. The first half is the buildup, instigated by the wrong thing said or the stare that goes on a beat too long. The chips fall off the shoulders at 1:06, leading to a chorus that hits like a swung bottle. It’s over as quickly as it starts, leaving behind nothing but bruises, blood and the echo of footsteps escaping the scene before the cops show up. Check out more from the Liars here: http://www.myspace.com/liarsliarsliars

 

autoKratz – Kick (BANKSY Mix).mp3
Banging away at your psyche with brooding efficiency, autoKratz’ dark tech/prog house banger (like they made in the good old days) features some icy, industrial-esque vocal distortion and an assortment of haunting electronic hums and ping-ponging scary noises.

The 4/4 thump and bass thrum move the track along with enough singlemindedness to get asses on the floor, where it proceeds to scare the bejeezus out of anyone chemically-addled enough to get too close to the bassbins. A lot like Front Line Assembly’s best work.

Chemical Brothers – K+D+B.mp3
Los Hermanos Chemical are back! Thank god. And I don’t just mean they’ve released a new album. No, they’ve done plenty of that recently with middling effectiveness and an annoying reliance on guest stars to aid in their quest to abandon their fanbase and acquire the kind of listeners who have shown a distinct tendency to pick Lady Gaga or whatnot instead.

No. Not just another album.

They. Are. Back.

Further is easily their best album since 1999’s Surrender, which is fitting because this album sounds a whole lot like that one. And I couldn’t be happier. It’s melodic. It’s thumping. It’s the underground we all wanted to be a part of. It’s the 4am set that turns to bliss as the sun rises over 20,000 dancers in a field, celebrating a primal togetherness that can only be explained by hamfisted writing and botched metaphors.

K+D+B is all that in one 5-1/2 minute track. Starting with some drums right out of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk, the ChemBros kick up the pace, relying on not much else but the syncopated beats. Around a minute in, the keyboards and samples kick in, bringing the track into the daylight and warming everything around it. 1:43: something that could be called an electro-bagpipe kicks in. A buzzing burst of treble noise, but calling it “noise” does it a disservice. It adds rather than distracts.

Builds and builds and builds and why the fuck not? The sampled singing keeps telling us “higher.” I’m only making things worse by attempting to express the pure euphoria and enchantment that two guys with a room full of switches are capable of evoking. Just listen.

-CLT

[Want a track removed? Think I used the words “electro” or “fuck” too much? Just say so (but nicely): 2timegrime@gmail.com.]
h1

Heavy Rotation 47: It’s All Coming Together Now Edition

June 6, 2010

Another week, another selection of varied tunes for your perusal. Except this week. Well, there are tunes, but they’re all up in each other’s bidness, as you’ll have bludgeoned into your head with this extremely wordy issue of Heavy Rotation. Many thanks in advance for those who wade right in.

If you’ve still got time to spare, take a look at these:

http://thisstuffisfree.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/free-magic-tricks/

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/05/sneaky-hate-spiral.html

http://hiddenleaves.wordpress.com/2010/06/06/shit-laertes-says/

Earlier, more varied and economical editions available here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

….

Bauhaus – Rose Garden Funeral of Sores (Live).mp3
Pixies – Hey.mp3

First up: Goth pioneers Bauhaus drop their art-damaged punk all over John Cale’s dark musings on Jesus’ Marys: the virgin mother and the attentive prostitute. From the street hassle of being a virgin mother:

Virgin Mary was tired
So tired
Tired of listening to gossip
Gossip and complaints
They came from next door

to the epicenter of the pointless, projecting gossip:

And a bewildered stream of chatter
From all sorts of
All sorts of
Untidy whores
Came from next door

The song tracks the petty travails of being a legend in your own time, a position made less envious by being linked inextricably by the savior of the world, a man of impossible standards and unconditional love.

Peter Murphy struts, vamps and screams, playing off the lyrical surges while his bandmates chime in with hoarse, whorish shouts, channeling the tormented/tormenting taunts of “screaming whores” with guttural barks of “UH!”.

But their choice don’t seem to matter
They got swollen breasts and lips that putter
And their choice of matter and their scream of chatter
Is just a little parasitic scream of whores
Screaming whores
In the rosegarden funeral of sores

And now the Pixies…

From the most Biblically obsessed of their albums (1989’s Doolittle) comes this perverted love/lust song, filled with contaminated yearning and cursed fatalism. Riding a bassline they wouldn’t top until later that album (I Bleed), Black Francis unleashes his naked desire only to find it anchored to the dead weight of a self-destructive relationship:

Hey!
Been trying to meet you
Mmm…
Hey!
Must be a devil between us
Or whores in my head
Whores at the door
Whore in my bed

But hey!
Where
Have you
Been?

If you go, I will surely die.

We’re chained…
We’re chained…
We’re chained…
Chained…

As the track heats up, Black Francis obliquely quotes “Rose Garden’s” screaming whores:

‘UH!’,
Said the man to the lady
Mmm…

‘UH!’,
Said the lady to the man she adored
And the whores like a choir go ‘UH!’ all night
And Mary, ain’t you tired of this?
‘UH!’
Is
The
Sound
That the mother makes when the baby breaks!

[I’ve been listening to these two tracks for the better part of 15 years and never saw the connection until just last week. Go figure.]

Bauhaus – Rose Garden Funeral of Sores (Live)

Pixies – Hey

Pixies – Hang Onto Your Ego.mp3
Public Image Limited – Public Image.mp3

The Pixies cover a Brian Wilson track that got deep-sixed by Mike Love for being too cynical and “out there” for the average boomer, taking an angular, guitar-heavy run through the greatest Beach Boys track never to hit the airwaves. (What if it had? It might have changed the face of “classic rock” completely. I think it would have hit Jimmy Buffett’s pocketbook the hardest…)

As the band warms up for the run, Black Francis fires off “Hullo, hullo, hullo…” quoting the opening of P.I.L.’s opening salvo Public Image, another deconstruction of rock ego and myth-making. Why this appropriation? Perhaps to indicate that Hang Onto Your Ego could have been a generational kiss off to a generation of undemanding Beach Boy fans.

I know so many people
Who think they can do it alone
They isolate their heads
And stay in the safety zone

But what can you tell them?
What can you say that won’t make them defensive?

So…
Hang on to your ego
Hang on, but I know that you’re gonna lose the fight

They come on like they’re peaceful
But inside they’re so uptight
They trip through the day
And waste all their thoughts at night

But how can I say it?
How can I come on when I know I’m guilty?

Speaking of which, John Lydon (the former Johnny Rotten) sends the Sex Pistols’ fans running for the shelter of their now “status quo” punk bands with the debut single from his new project, Public Image Ltd. His last words as Rotten were, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”

Cheated by your manager. Cheated by your label. Cheated by your smack-addled murderer of a bass player. Cheated by the revolution that never was. Cheated by fans who wanted nothing more than a soundtrack for drunked, drugged-up mosh pits.

Lydon flips the script, announcing punk is over with a bruising bassline thundering over some exploratory soundcheck/reality check “hullos.” A farewell to Rotten/Sex Pistols/McLaren/Punk “Scene.” If his fans couldn’t be bothered to bootstrap a musical revolution, he’d just have to do it himself.

You never listen to a word that I said
You’ve only seen me
For the clothes that I wear
Or did the interest go so much deeper
It must have been
The colour of my hair

Public Image

What you wanted was never made clear
Behind the image was ignorance and fear
You hide behind this public machine
Still follow same old scheme

Public Image

Public image you got what you wanted
The Public image belongs to me
It’s my entrance
My own creation
My grand finale
My goodbye

[Yet another connection made only recently, although, to be fair, the Rough Diamonds compilation which contains this Pixies track is only a few years old… Still…]

Pixies – Hang Onto Your Ego

Public Image Ltd. – Public Image

Pixies – Ride the Tiger (Demo Version).mp3
Pixies – Ride the Tiger (Album Version).mp3

Since we’re already in a Pixies mood, let’s take two looks at the same track and the difference a great producer makes.

Let’s go ahead and clear the air: Steve Albini is an asshole. But he’s an uber-talented asshole who doesn’t glorify his own position. As is the case with most albums he’s produced, Albini credits himself with nothing more glamorous than “recording.” He knows what he’s looking for and he doesn’t fuck around.

There are plenty of anecdotes out there dealing with his “hands off” production technique. During the 1988 Surfer Rosa sessions, the most famous Albini-ism was his direction, which consisted of declaring things to be either “pussy” (in need of improvement) or “not pussy” (good to go).

So, listen closely to the two versions.

The demo version (taken from the Rough Diamonds compilation) runs nearly a minute longer. There’s a bit more space between the verses, giving Joey Santiago a chance to run through about a half-dozen ideas, casting liberal (for the Pixies) amounts of guitar squall/skronk here and there much like he did in “Vamos.”

The chorus and bridges linger for a bit too long, but that could just be 20+ years of hindsight speaking. All in all, a little unfocused but still a track that thousands of bands would kill to have in their catalogue, perfectly demonstrating the Pixies’ flawless command of the quiet/loud dynamic.

Now listen to the album version.

It is tight. Economical. No wasted effort anywhere. Santiago’s guitar scribblings are limited to propelling the song thru some lingering notes and restrained strumming. Pay special attention to the bridge between the first chorus and second verse, when he pulls the listener along on a thin strand of sustained feedback, using a couple of held notes to tie it all together and letting the rhythm section (and Kim’s backing vocals) do all the heavy lifting.

And Lovering’s drums. Those are definitely “not pussy.” It makes the drumming on the demo version seem so… serviceable. Of course, this may be nothing more than better miking and mastering, but that’s why a great producer is worth the $$$.

Of course, the song itself rocks hard, alternating between melodic and stormy, riding a metaphor from the Gaza Strip to the Cradle of Civilization.

Pixies – Ride the Tiger (Demo Version)

Pixies – Ride the Tiger (Album Version)

-CLT